What is a stronghold?
A stronghold is a faulty thinking pattern based on lies and deception. Deception is one of the primary weapons of the devil, because it is the building blocks for a stronghold. Strongholds cause us to think in ways which block us from God’s best. A stronghold is a point of operation from where Satan can keep the unbeliever captive or the believer incapacitated. Strongholds can come in two forms: (1) your perspective of God; and (2) your perspective of yourself. A stronghold can be a foothold (in other words it can be lies that easily besets you) then as you gradually continue with the lies and deception it becomes a stronghold because it is sin and sin brings stronghold. According to the scripture in 1 peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, and seeking whom he may devour”. If there are any open doors in your life, begin to close them now.
What is an open door?
An open door is an access or an entrance the devil uses to destroy one’s life. “For the thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill and to destroy”- John 10:10. Sin gives the devil a green light to enter and to destroy. We are made up of three parts, that is the spirit, soul and body. When we become saved the spirit of God indwells our spirit and our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit according to 1 Corinthians 6:19. In order for us to keep the doors closed, we must put on the whole armour of God.
Where do strongholds come from?
Strongholds are built upon deception and error. These errors and deceptions which form strongholds can come from a wide variety of sources, including our environment, those around us, our parents or even demon spirits. I have seen where people have picked up a demon, and then the demon quickly builds one or more strongholds in their mind that must be later torn down.
Identifying your strongholds
Wearing the armor of God prepares us for battle. We need to identify just where our strongholds are located. Paul in several portions of scripture identifies specific areas, where the flesh is opposed to the spirit. The scripture below lists areas or strongholds where Satan can wage war. Therefore, we need to identify these strongholds in our own life. How does Satan continue to cause us to fall? What area of our life gives him the ability to wage war with us? The following scriptures below can help you identify your strongholds: Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 4:17-19, Colossians 3:5-10, 2 Corinthians 12:20-21. Once we begin to identify the strongholds, we need to wage war against them.
Wearing the Armour of God.
The armor of God gives us the ability to be victors in the battle of the mind. Putting on the full armor of God, allows us to stand against the schemes, wiles and deceit of Satan, whose goal is to destroy the faithful believers. How are we to wage war? First, we must remember Paul’s instructions according to Ephesians 6:10-12.
v.10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”. v.11 “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” v12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against Principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We need to put on the full armor God and once that is done, we need to make the conscious decision to stand. We need to choose to stand, so we do not go down by our opponent Satan.
Waging war against strongholds
In 2 Corinthians 10 verses 3 to 5, we are instructed on how to war against strongholds where Satan launches his attacks.
v.3 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.”
v.4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,”
v.5 “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
We can learn from this portion of scripture about spiritual warfare that:
-The battle is not physical
-Our weapons are not physical
-Our weapons are able to pull down strongholds, arguments and high things
-The war is that which exalts against the knowledge of God (The Word)
-Victory is achieved by bringing every thought into captivity of obedience of Christ.
We have two offensive weapons in this battle, one the sword of the Lord (God’s word) and two, prayer. These are two mighty weapons, which allow us to pull down strongholds. Our warfare is against that which is opposed to the knowledge of God. The revelation of God’s word exposes these strongholds, for that reason it is important to combine God’s word (the sword) with prayer to overcome these points of satanic power. Satan knows if we are able to remove these strongholds, we will become a mighty warrior. His goal is to prevent us from being victorious.
What is a Demonic Stronghold?
A demonic stronghold is anything compelling enough or convincing enough to hold you in its power; to keep you from receiving God’s love and truth. When a stronghold has been built in you, the Strongman (Ruling Demon) arouses a defensive posture that causes you to “rationalize” your current situation. He will often use your pride to hide any weaknesses from those around you.
The existence of a stronghold can be recognized because it will be that area of your life in which you consistently have problems and cannot live in victory. You can tell one is established because a habitual pattern of failure or hopelessness exists in that area of your life.
Types of Demonic Strongholds
There are as many demons as there are sins, torments and afflictions. Any attempt to perfectly define and categorize them will involve error. The best approach is to divide them into two loose camps;
- The Tempters
- The Tormentors
Their names are self explanatory. They have an assignment. It will either be to tempt you to sin or torment you. They may torment your mind, emotions, physical body or all three. Even in this division, you will still find them showing up in both camps because they are all in the same army of hell.
The type of stronghold is determined by the strongman ruling over it. If the strongman’s assignment is to tempt the person to sin, the person will have a stronghold of temptation, even if they are also tormented by their sin. If the strongman is a demon of torment, the person will have a stronghold of torment, though he may compel the person to sin in order to torment them.
*Strongholds of Temptation can be defined as:
A sinful opinion or behavior believed and practiced which questions, violates or defies God’s Word; thereby providing a place of protection and opportunity for demons to live and work in a believer’s life.
*Strongholds of Torment would be defined as:
An emotional state, mental disorder , or physical infirmity resulting from demonic oppression and harassment in a believer’s life.
How Strongholds Originate
Luke 4:16-18 records the account of Jesus going into the synagogue in Nazareth to publicly declare His mission. He does this by reading from the scroll of Isaiah the Prophet that says:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Isa. 61:1)
He chose this prophecy because it describes in detail the four different bondages Satan has over people’s lives. He lists each of the bondages and then states how He will restore wholeness. He will “heal the brokenhearted.” He will “free the prisoner.” He will “restore sight to the blind.” He will “deliver the oppressed.”This passage is a Key to understanding the different types of demonic strongholds operating in a Christian’s life. Regardless of how complex the bondage has become, it originated from one of these four conditions:
A Wound (The Brokenhearted)
A Habitual Sin (The Prisoner)
A Deception (The Blind)
An Oppression (The Oppressed)
This Stronghold originates with a Wound.
The person has experienced a wound to their emotions, which alters their original personality and in many cases affects their health. When life’s tragedies leave people wounded and vulnerable, a demon of grief can gain entry and perpetuate a permanent state of mourning known as a broken heart. In some cases, you can see the pain in their eyes, even when they are smiling.
Below is a short list of tragedies the enemy uses to leave people brokenhearted.
- Rape ——— Accident
- Abuse ——— Trauma
- Rejection ——- Divorce
- Molestation—- Death
- Abandonment——- Disappointment
God has put healing properties in the human body that cause it to heal itself in most cases. But if the body gets infected the healing process is hindered. We then need divine healing or medical help to drive out the infection. Our emotions are no different. Regardless of how severe the tragedy, our emotions will heal with time. But if demons of hurt, pain, grief, or sorrow gain entry during our time of grief, they will feed on our wounded emotions just as vultures feed on a wounded animal. They must be driven out of our emotions just as infection must be driven out of our physical bodies before healing and wholeness will come.
This Stronghold originates from a habitual Sin.
A stronghold of sin is difficult to destroy because the desires of the flesh are an inherent part of our sinful nature and cannot be cast out. They must be crucified (see Gal. 2:20). This is not a one-time event but a daily exercise.
Paul said according to Gal 5:24, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Demons are in our life as long as we tolerate the sin. They are like rats. They feed on our sin. We must beat the sin!
Deliverance alone cannot destroy this stronghold. It can only be destroyed through deep repentance. King David cried many tears on his journey back to restoring fellowship with God (Ps. 51:1-12). There are people who cannot break bondages because they do not feel true remorse for their sin. This stronghold will never be broken unless there is true repentance and sorrow for the sin and a determined effort to break habit patterns through stern self discipline.
However, the other side of this truth is that, Jesus says,
“He has sent me to set the prisoner free.” (Luke. 4:18)
Those imprisoned, also need to be set free of the demons that made them a prisoner.
This stronghold originates with a Lie.
Deception is at the root of this stronghold. Although this does include physical blindness, its implication is much broader, for the percentage of the blind among the general population is minuscule. This is primarily speaking of spiritual blindness. Many Christians think spiritual blindness applies only to unbelievers.
They will sometimes quote 2 Cor. 4:4that says,
“For the god of this world has blinded their eyes.”
However, Jesus warned the Christians in Laodicea that they were spiritually blind. He rebuked them and told them they needed to ask Him for salve to heal their spiritual blindness. (Rev. 3:17, 18)
Spiritual blindness is deception. Satan deceives you and me and causes us to believe lies and distortions regarding God, His existence, His character, His love, His faithfulness, and His ability and willingness to help us. Satan also distorts our self image. He will either cause us to have delusions of grandeur or feelings of self hatred and disappointment. The greatest difficulty in demolishing this stronghold is for us to recognize and acknowledge the lie.
This stronghold originates from an Open Door.
The enemy has gained legal right to attack. It may have resulted from any number of sources including sin or deception, but the strongman who resides over this bondage is a tormentor. His goal is not to destroy the person by making him commit sin, although he may accomplish that as well. His goal is to torment his victim. He gets his thrills through seeing people suffer.
The Greek word used to describe this type of bondage is “thrauo”. It literally means “to crush”. The KJV translated it “bruised”. Some of the later translations including the NIV render it “oppressed”.
This strongman harasses, torments, and crushes the person under his oppression. He crushes their self image; he crushes their relationships; he crushes their dreams and aspirations; and he crushes their hope. He has many demons who work with him; underlings who afflict the person in many ways.
Every demonic stronghold originates from one of these four bondages. A person may be suffering from more than one of these conditions. In many cases, the original stronghold opens the door for a second, third and even a fourth. In time, the bondage will often become so intertwined, it is impossible to recognize where one ends and another begins because the demons are like a nest of snakes all mingled together (Luke. 10:19). When this is the case, knowing where to begin can be confusing.
We need the Holy Spirit to give us spiritual discernment!
He will “open the eyes of the understanding” (Eph. 1:18) of the person receiving deliverance or give revelation knowledge to the one praying deliverance. We must ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us (John 16:13) and then be patient until He speaks. While we wait, we must continue to do what we know to do. We bind the strongman of oppression and command him to leave with his underlings sending them back to the abyss and never to return in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Please do not go into battle without putting on the whole armor of God!!!